Interview – Susan Davis at San Diego Civic Leadership Forum

The forum is organized by NaFFAA, supported by CLUSA and media covered by Ding Ding TV in San Diego on 30th March 2019.

About the speaker:

Congresswoman Susan Davis proudly represents California’s 53rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Her interest in public affairs and service grew out of her experiences as a social worker, parent, youth mentor, and military spouse. Through these life experiences, Susan developed an understanding of and deep commitment to improving her community and country.

Susan attended public school in northern California.  She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in sociology.  After college, she worked with at-risk youths in Israel and also lived on a kibbutz.  Susan returned to the United States and she earned her master’s degree in social work at the University of North Carolina.  When her husband Steve was stationed in Japan for his military service, Susan and their sons, Jeff and Ben, joined him.  The Davis family later settled in mid-city San Diego in 1972 and Susan and Steve have lived in the same house ever since.  Today, Susan and Steve are the proud grandparents of Henry, Jane, and Theo.

Prior to Congress, Susan served in the California State Assembly (1994-2000).  She served three terms and focused on what would become her signature issues – education, health care, and consumer protection.  She chaired the Committee on Consumer Protection, Government Efficiency, and Economic Development.  In the House, as she has throughout her public service, Susan has approached legislating as a bipartisan consensus builder achieving legislative successes in education, military families and veterans support and health care.

Education – In addition to her state legislative experience, Susan brought to Congress nine years of experience as a member of the San Diego Unified Board of Education (1983-1992).  As a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, Susan has played a key role in bringing reforms and improvements to primary, secondary and higher education.  She wrote the law to provide flexibility to college students receiving work-study funds during natural disasters such as the recent fires in Southern California.   In addition, she made work-study funds available to college students who work to educate the community in civic education and disaster preparedness.  Susan is focusing on teacher quality because nothing is more important to a child’s schooling than an inspiring teacher.

Susan is Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee where her priorities for the Subcommittee are increasing access to a college degree, equal opportunity in education and the workplace, student safety, expanding apprenticeships, and emphasizing career and technical training – especially for women.

Susan has long promoted the virtues of positive role models and passed legislation promoting youth mentoring.  In the early 90’s, she was the Executive Director of the Aaron Price Fellows program designed to teach multi-ethnic high school students leadership and citizenship skills.  She has mentored many young people instilling in them a sense of community involvement and participation.

National Defense and Military Families – Representing San Diego, with its large military presence, Susan has been a strong advocate for military families.  She also draws on her experience living overseas as her husband served in Japan in the Air Force.  As a past Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, she has been at the forefront on issues that directly impact service members and their families, such as increases in pay and benefits, improved housing and a health care system worthy of their service and sacrifice.

In 2010, the National Military Family Association recognized Susan for her work with military families and military spouses.

Veterans – Susan’s father served as a medic in World War II.  In addition to these experiences and San Diego’s large veteran population, Susan is keenly aware of the needs and concerns of our nation’s veterans.  She had the honor to serve on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs for three years.  She still influences veterans policy on the all the committees she serves.  She wrote the laws that increased home loan limit guarantees for veterans, included veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the Cal-Vet home loan program and expanded education benefits.  She has also been a consistent supporter of increasing health care funding and overall benefits for veterans.

Health Care – Susan has worked to build on the foundation of her success in giving California women direct access to their OB/GYN.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, contained many provisions championed by Susan – direct access to an OB/GYN, preserving access to crucial maternal health care for low-income women by ensuring Medicaid birth center facility fee payments, and making resources available a community-based approach to preventing new cases of type 2 Diabetes.  As a former medical social worker, Susan recognizes the need for accessible and affordable quality health care. From her position on the Education and Workforce Committee, she will continue to work with her colleagues in finding ways to lower health care costs.

In Congress, Susan is a leader of an effort to include billions of dollars of new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to promote research, innovation, and discovery to find new ways to fight and cure diseases such as AIDS and cancer.

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